Vail Resorts to buy Kirkwood

Tahoe the new battleground in the resort industry.
#10 Kirkwood

Vail Resorts continues its dominance in the resort game, as it announced today that it will acquire Kirkwood Resort, one of Tahoe’s top skier’s mountains, for about $18 million later this season.

Kirkwood is about 45 minutes from the bright lights of South Shore—and new sister resort Heavenly—but a world away in attitude. It’s a local’s hub for hardcore skiing, and South Shore’s go-to destination for steeps and big snow. With approximately 2,300 acres, 2,100 vertical feet and a 9,800-foot summit elevation, Kirkwood serves up some of the toughest lines in Tahoe. From a terrain perspective, it can be seen as the Squaw of the South Shore.

A recent flurry of sales and consolidations shows the growing importance of Tahoe in the national ski scene. The Cushing family sold Squaw last year, which was quickly followed up by Squaw purchasing Alpine Meadows. With today's announcement of the Kirkwood acquisition, Vail now operates three Tahoe resorts: Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.

With Squaw at the start of a significant makeover, Kirkwood might be the one single resort with the greatest untapped potential in the West. No surprise, then, that Vail Resorts moved in.

The knock on Kirkwood—or a plus for some visitors—is it’s all about the skiing. Set in a beautiful and somewhat remote—in Tahoe terms—mountain valley, Kirkwood offers limited base village and lodging options. With Vail’s deep pockets now in play, you can bet that’s about to change.

Vail's press release.